AMMAN — US Ambassador to Jordan Stuart Jones on Wednesday said his country is proud of its partnership with the Kingdom and encouraged more Jordanians to visit the US for either business or pleasure, saying the visa process is not as complicated as many imagine.
"We are very proud of our partnership with the Kingdom and in the spirit of this partnership we would like the peoples of both countries to benefit from the opportunities their respective countries offer each other," Jones told a group of journalists invited by the embassy for a briefing on the visa process.
The ambassador urged Jordanian businessmen to take advantage of the Free Trade Agreement between Jordan and the US to help create jobs for the unemployed and highlighted the many sites in the US that Jordanian tourists might like to visit.
Noting that US universities enjoy very good reputations, Jones also encouraged Jordanian students to pursue their education there.
Dismissing rumours of a convoluted visa process at the US embassy, he said nearly 97 per cent of applicants who fulfil the visa requirements receive their visas within two days, while procedural issues stall the process for a small minority of applicants for up to two weeks.
He underscored that the embassy's visa section is equipped with highly qualified American and Jordanian staff who handle thousands of visa applications annually, advising Jordanians seeking to visit the US in the summer to apply for their visas early and avoid the summer rush to ensure that their applications are processed on time.
Deanna Abdeen, cultural consular chief at the embassy, said the number of visa applications submitted by individuals, including Jordanians, seeking to visit the US is increasing on a yearly basis, adding that in 2011 the visa department at the US embassy in Amman issued more than 16,000 non-immigrant visas and 2,500 immigrant visas.
"Our mission at the embassy is to facilitate travel to the US. We believe not only that international visits to the US are good for economic reasons, but also that they contribute to spreading mutual understanding between different nations.”
According to Abdeen, the embassy has started receiving visa applications from Syrian citizens after the US shut down its embassy in Damascus, adding that Syrians constitute around 10 per cent of all visa applications.